Simon-Anthony Rhoden, who studied drama at Lewisham Southwark College for two years, has won a starring role in one of the West End’s most popular shows. From July, he will play the lead part of drag queen ‘Lola’ in ‘Kinky Boots’ at London’s Adelphi Theatre – the winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and 2015 Evening Standard Award.
Having studied at the College, Simon gained a place at elite drama school LAMDA on its BA Hons degree in Classical Theatre and after graduating, went on to win a number of theatre, TV and film roles. He also devises shows for fringe theatre company ‘The Keepers Daughter’.
However at one point, Simon almost gave up his dream of being an actor, and moved to Bristol in order to get on the property ladder and pursue his “second dream career” of working in catering. He was running a bakery when he got a call from a casting director who encouraged him to audition for ‘Kinky Boots’.
Simon was initially offered an understudy role, making his West End debut last year, before stepping into the boots of Matt Henry, whose highly acclaimed portrayal of ‘Lola’ won him an Olivier Award. Inspired by true events, ‘Kinky Boots’ tells the story of the owner of a failing shoe factory, Charlie, who tries to save his business by making high heels for drag performers, including Lola.
Simon will now perform the physically demanding role, which requires him to act, sing and dance – in high heels and a spectacular costume! – eight times a week.
Karla Ptácek, one of Simon’s Lecturers at the College, says: “Simon always had amazing potential and a fantastic work ethic and it’s no surprise to see him now taking the West End by storm. We are so proud to have played a part in his training and wish him good luck in this fantastic role.”
Beauty Therapist student Ruta Matilionyte has shown she’s got what it takes to compete at the highest level, having won third place in the regional heat of the prestigious WorldSkills competition.
WorldSkills is the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world and aims to reflect a truly global workplace. Students from across the globe compete in a huge range of vocational categories – first at local, then national and finally international level.
Ruta, who recently completed the Level 2 Beauty Therapy course at Lewisham Southwark College, won third place in her category (Hands & Face), having impressed the judges by demonstrating a mini-facial, day make-up and innovative nail art. She’s now waiting to hear whether she has won enough points to go forward to the UK round – and move a step nearer to competing in the global final, which takes place in Kazan, Russia, in 2019.
Ruta, who is currently working for a beauty salon in Tower Bridge, plans to return to the College in September to start the Level 3 Beauty Therapy course.
She says: “I entered the WorldSkills competition because I wanted to get my name out there, which is very important in the beauty industry. While I think it’s vital to gain training in all aspects of beauty, in the future I’ll probably focus on make-up because that’s the element which fascinates me the most.”
Lyndsay Benford of the College’s Department of Beauty Therapy, comments: “Ruta is a very talented and dedicated beauty therapist, and we’re delighted to see her do so well. Gaining a placing within a WorldSkills heat is a fantastic achievement which requires a high level of expertise.”
A successful business empire is the kind of thing entrepreneurs dream of after years of hard work, but Channan Warmington-Lewis Moore, a BTEC Level 3 Business student at the College, has achieved it already!
Kychan Teen Magazine, the free teen lifestyle publication she launched four years ago to empower and celebrate people in her community, now has a monthly print run of 5,000. On top of this, Channan’s event company, Kychan Smile, has organised a wide range of events including make-up and nailcare training courses, a Miss Kychan Teen Supreme pageant, a tea-dance, an art competition and – due to happen this October half-term – a dance battle!
Channan launched Kychan Teen Magazine because she noticed, as a 13 year old, that “there were no magazines out there that weren’t all about celebrities and gossip.” This led Channan and her sister to produce and print a magazine to mark Black History month, filled with interviews with inspiring black women and men in the community.
“We printed 30 black and white copies,” she remembers. “The following month people started to ask us why they hadn’t received that month’s magazine, so we decided to start our business.”
The free colour magazine features “celebrities” of the community – young people doing amazing things, and inspirational adults who have built interesting careers – along with fashion and beauty tips, careers advice and competitions. It is distributed through schools, youth clubs, colleges, doctors surgeries and elsewhere in the community, and can also be read online at www.kychan.co.uk.
Channan says: “The most challenging thing about running my business is that a lot of adults don’t take us seriously as young people – they see it as a good hobby rather than a business. But when you see people’s smiles and happiness at our events and get such positive feedback from the magazine, it’s so worthwhile.
“Our Miss Kychan Teen Supreme pageant, which took place on 3 June, was our most successful event to date. It gave young people aged 9 to 16 a stage to shine and created some fantastic memories for everyone who attended.”
“Although Kychan Ltd was established before I came to Lewisham Southwark College, I feel that what I’m learning will help me to progress even further with my business.”
Come and join in the fun as we set up our stalls at Bermondsey Carnival and Lewisham People’s Day! These are FREE events that are open to all and includes a funfair, music, food, stalls, and more!
Bermondsey Carnival have also created a great music programme, welcoming a UK reggae and ska showcase to their stage, not to mention the return of ‘Rumble in the Jumble’ – their own mass jumble sale where you could discover a hidden treasure!
Lewisham People’s Day is a celebration of art, craft, music and community, with performances across seven stages and over a hundred exhibitors, craft stalls and caterers!
At Lewisham People's Day, as well as getting a henna or glitter tattoo, at our stalls you can try your hand at a game of Batak, an exciting fast-paced game where your reaction speed is put to the test! By playing, you will also have the chance to win a fun prize! At Bermondsey Carnival you will also be able to play for the chance to win a prize!
Our staff will be on hand to provide information about our courses and answer any questions you may have about studying with the College.
Bermondsey Carnival is on 1st July at Southwark Park from 12pm to 8pm.
Lewisham People’s Day is on 8th July at Mounsfield Park from 12pm to 8pm.
For more information about these events and what we’re up to, check out our events calendar on the website!
You can get in the spirit of the action by following along on social media using the dedicated hashtags #BermondseyCarnival for Bermondsey Carnival, and #PeoplesDay for Lewisham People’s Day.
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Lewisham People’s Day
What better way to learn English than to get the chance to speak it on the radio? ESOL students have been doing just that, practicing their English skills in a series of interviews for LSCollege Radio.
The students learnt four modules of radio production, including Communication Skills and Interview Techniques, to enable them to produce their interviews.
Around 45 ESOL students took part in the project, as part of the ESOL Young Enrichment programme led and managed by their teacher, Elma Curran, which involved learners interviewing each other, posing questions that ranged from ‘what kind of music do you like?’ to ‘what do you think of Brexit?’ Students also opened up about what it’s like to study in London, what they most miss about their home country, and what they dream of doing in the future.
Both the interviewers and interviewees come from countries all over the world, including Afghanistan, Gambia, Romania, Peru, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Each learner is studying on one of the College’s wide range of ESOL courses which are designed to give people who are not native English speakers the vital spoken and written English skills they will need to study and work in the UK.
Many of the skills learned in the project are transferable, have helped students gain confidence and can lead to employment and further education opportunities in the future.
Head of ESOL Young Learners, Annette Duncan, comments: “This activity is a great example of how the College gives learners the opportunity to stretch themselves outside the classroom. Doing a radio interview is quite a daunting prospect, especially if it’s not in your native language, but our ESOL students really rose to the challenge!”
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- Business learners represent College at City Hall debate 05th December 2017
- Innovative Beauty Training boosts job prospects 04th December 2017
- College Wins Again In FE First Awards! 04th December 2017
- Lewisham Southwark College join national colleges Group, NCG 01st December 2017